Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling

This is the long-awaited (as always) sixth book in the Harry Potter series, and we would have finished it much sooner except that we wanted to read it aloud together. (Though I had to curb some compulsive looking-ahead by Robyn towards the end.)

Harry is sixteen, and no longer doing everything angrily, which is nice. Instead, in this book Harry and his classmates discover the wonderful effects of raging hormones and we get a few romantic side-plots in the mix. It's the darkest book by far. The last few volumes have seen the deaths of a few characters, some closer to Harry than others, but the events in the latest book are more devastating and unexpected.

A brief plot summary: Voldemort is getting bolder in his attacks, with more and more people making the obituary section of the Daily Prophet. Harry gets an old copy of a potions textbook curiously labeled "Property of the Half-Blood Prince," filled with marginalia that turn out to be quite helpful. Draco Malfoy is up to no good, but Harry can't convince anyone to believe him. Dumbledore is helping Harry to delve into Voldemort's past, trying to discover his weaknesses.

Rowling doesn't spend a lot of time catching readers up. She makes plenty of references to past events without explaining them in detail. However, every so often she includes bits that a Harry Potter enthusiast certainly wouldn't need, such as a physical description of Albus Dumbledore.

Overall, this one was a bit better written than the last one, though I think one of the big "surprises" toward the end was undercut by scenes earlier in the book which probably weren't necessary. It does leave the reader hanging a bit more than the last one as well, guaranteeing that the last book in the series will be at the top of the best-seller list before it hits the shelves. (And I'm sure rumors and speculations are flying already.)

Fed to jonathan's brain | August 15, 2005 | Comments (0)


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